Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Underdog Lee DeWyze becomes 9th 'American Idol' winner

When he first got started on his American Idol journey, Lee DeWyze was asked why he thought he would be the next winner."Because there's a time and place for everything, and this is my time and my place," replied the mild-mannered paint salesman from Mount Prospect, Ill.For much of the season, that seemed like a long shot; the 24-year-old singer was often hampered by an inferiority complex.

But as he blossomed, the judges boosted him with "You can win this!" praise. And on Wednesday night, sure enough, he won.Crystal Bowersox, the front-runner all season, wiped away tears and looked happy for DeWyze, who was doubled over at times with emotion."I'm just happy, man," he said. "I've never been happier in my life. I appreciate everything everybody has done."But before that confetti-filled moment of joy, the finale was packed with surprise guest performers, including Christina Aguilera, Alanis Morissette, Hall & Oates and Janet Jackson.
One highlight was a spirited duet from Fort Worth's Casey James and Bret Michaels, who was fresh from brain surgery and a Celebrity Apprentice win. Guitars in hand, they belted out "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" in front of a standing ovation.

But this finale was like no other because it was also Simon Cowell's last time on American Idol. During a taped tribute, Paula Abdul remembered their early days on the show, with Cowell telling a bad singer, "Go to an audition where they lie to you. Thank you very much.""I could not believe what was coming out of his mouth," she said. "The best moments were when we were laughing hysterically."

Abdul then appeared in person, offering up a rambling monologue (but hey, that's why she's adored) and ending up where she had many times in the good old days: snuggled in Cowell's lap.From there, they watched the most moving moment of the show. All of the former Idol winners except David Cook, who reportedly was at a charity event, walked out, one by one, to sing together. As an added bonus, a large, white-clad group of also-rans from every season joined them.Abdul then took Cowell's hand and led him onstage.
"I didn't think I was going to be this emotional," said Cowell, whose title onscreen during the first part of Season One had been simply "UK Record Executive."

"The truth is, everyone asks who's going to replace me as the next judge," he told the audience. "The truth is, you guys are the judges of this show, and you've done an incredible job over the years."